Wednesday, March 01, 2006

"God Bless You..."

Yesterday evening, while my wife was out with a girlfriend (uh, her girlfriend, not mine), I needed to run a few errands. And so, while my four kids and I were standing in the Kroger candy aisle waiting patiently (or, trying to, at least) for my son to pick out which of the million varieties of sweets he wanted to spend his dollar on, a lady walked past. As she did, I heard her say, "God bless you. Four children. How wonderful!"

Now, I wasn't actually sure she was talking to me. It was more like she was talking to herself about me, because when I turned around, she was already halfway down the aisle. But it got me thinking about sizes of family. Or, rather, the impression family size has on people.

I have never really thought our family is a "large family". We have several friends who have four children. I came from a family with five brothers and a sister, and my wife had three brothers. To me, four kids is just, well, average.

Of course, it isn't. We passed the 2.5 kids mark a few years back. Still, I'm amazed that people see having four kids as some heroic (or, perhaps, insane) event. Is it a lot of work? Sure. Especially when you, once again, find that your two-year-old has smeared poop on the walls, and your three-year-old has taken it upon himself to completely disassemble the bedroom, curtains and all, and your older two are arguing over who gets to use the computer next. But, honestly, I wouldn't want anything less. (In fact, we want more.)

Don't get me wrong...my wife and I revel in the moments we have alone together, where either the kids are with the babysitter, or sleeping. And there have been times where our oldest son has expressed his dissatisfaction with having a brother and sister who like to destroy the Lego creation he just spent three hours building. In fact, my wife once asked him what he thought about the idea of us having a fifth child. He looked around and said, "Count the doors, mom. There isn't enough room!"

(And that's true, actually. We need a larger house.)

We have also talked to him about the advantages he has. Family is important. And he has two brothers and a sister that will always be his friends. No matter what happens in life, that bond will never disappear, even when other friendships do. His best friend is his brother. Friends for life, we like to say. (A quote we picked up from watching Supernanny.)

It is true that we will never be able to provide for our kids, physically, in the same way we could have with two kids. But that just isn't an area of strong importance. So we buy clothes at resale instead of retail, and I do my grocery shopping at Save-A-Lot most of the time. And my kids don't have a Nintendo, Playstation, or X-Box. Amazingly, they're surviving rather well.

God has blessed us.

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